You already know you can perfect soups and stews in the crockpot, but what about spaghetti? Surprising to many, the slow cooker can do much more than soul-warming soups, and it’s even adept at comfort food favorites, such as those inspired by Italian cuisine. If you have a Sunday tradition of big Italian dinners or just are craving sauce, check out these 12 crockpot recipes that serve up your favorite Italian favorites. You don’t need to be a master chef to make these meals — you just need to have a crockpot.
1. Crockpot Spaghetti
We weren’t kidding about making your spaghetti in the crockpot, and this recipe from Weelicious shows you how to do it. This crockpot spaghetti will be ready in a couple hours, and it requires 10 minutes of prep time. All you need to do is cook the meat and then load the slow cooker with spaghetti, sauce, cooked beef, and cheese. Cook on high for two hours, and then it’s time to eat.
Serves: 8 to 10
- 1 pound lean ground beef, turkey, or chicken
- ½ onion, finely diced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 (26-ounce) jars pasta sauce
- 1 cup water
- 1 pound spaghetti noodles
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Head to Weelicious for the full recipe.
2. Slow Cooker Italian Sausage Lasagna
Lasagna is one of those meals that sounds good in theory but can end up taking an excessive amount of time to prepare. Luckily, your crockpot can do all the work for you — all you have to do is load the ingredients. Speaking of ingredients, Betty Crocker’s recipe for slow cooker Italian sausage lasagna enlists pork sausage, tomato sauce, basil leaves, three types of cheese, and lasagna noodles. Once you have your ingredients in the crockpot, cook them on high for 6½ hours before it’s time for an Italian homemade feast.
- ¾ pound bulk Italian pork sausage
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 2 cans tomato sauce
- 2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 container (15 ounces) part skim ricotta cheese
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (12 ounces)
- 12 uncooked lasagna noodles
Head to Betty Crocker for the full recipe.
3. Creamy Italian Chicken
For a creamy poultry dish you can serve over pasta or rice, try this Italian chicken recipe from Taste of Home. Your crockpot won’t need to cook the poultry for as long as the other aforementioned recipes, and your chicken will be ready in only four hours. To make the chicken extra creamy, this recipe takes a shortcut with Italian salad dressing mix and condensed cream of chicken soup. The shortcuts will save you time and energy, leaving you with a final product that is finger-licking good.
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
- 1 envelope Italian salad dressing mix
- ¼ cup water
- 1 package cream cheese, softened
- 1 can condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
- 1 can mushroom stems and pieces, drained
- Hot cooked pasta or rice
- Fresh oregano leaves, optional
Head to Taste of Home for the full recipe.
4. Slow Cooker Italian Meatballs
One Italian dish you might have already known could be made in the slow cooker is meatballs. Making meatballs in the crockpot is the best way to serve the tangy bites at parties or when you’re on the go and don’t have time to slave over the oven. Follow this recipe from The Cooking Jar for slow cooker Italian meatballs, and you’ll quickly become the new favorite chef in the family. Regardless of whether you serve your meatballs plain, with spaghetti, or on subs, you’ll love the hearty meatballs that hardly require any prep work.
Serves: Makes 50 meatballs
- 2 jars (24 ounces) marinara sauce
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound hot or mild Italian sausage, casings removed
- 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- Salt and pepper to taste
Head to The Cooking Jar for the full recipe.
5. Minestrone Soup
We can’t talk about Italian crockpot recipes without highlighting minestrone soup. It’s best mastered in the slow cooker, and this recipe featured on Food Network is not only delicious, it’s healthy, too. The soup is loaded with pasta, beans, and vegetables, and thanks to its high fiber and protein content, it’ll fill you up without filling you out. Serve the minestrone soup with a side salad or crusty bread, and you’ll have a light lunch or dinner on your hands that doesn’t require any sweat or stress.
- 3 cups reduced-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1 (15-ounce) can white (cannellini or navy) beans, drained
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon dried sage
- 2 bay leaves
- Salt and ground black pepper
- 2 cups cooked ditalini pasta
- 1 medium zucchini, chopped
- 2 cups coarsely chopped fresh or frozen spinach, defrosted
- 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
Head to Food Network for the full recipe.
6. Slow Cooker Italian Stuffed Peppers
Here’s another Italian dish you can load into the crockpot in the morning and then enjoy at night. These Italian peppers featured on Epicurious are stuffed with rice, beef, and cheese, and they will marinate in the crockpot for six to eight hours. The recipe feeds six and is aimed to please. Serve your peppers with a soup or side salad, and you’ll have an easy, comforting meal that is satisfying but still relatively healthy.
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 cup uncooked white rice
- 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, cut into ¼-inch cubes
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon(s) pepper
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 large red bell peppers, tops cut off and hollowed out
- 32 ounces crushed tomatoes
- 1½ cups beef broth
- ½ cup grated mozzarella
Head to Epicurious for the full recipe.
7. Crockpot Chicken Parmesan
Say hello to crockpot chicken Parmesan from Chef In Training. This recipe allows you to have your beloved Italian dish in mere hours without any of the usual cooking sweat and toil. Chicken Parmesan is one dish all meat-eaters can enjoy, regardless of whether they typically like Italian food, and thus it’s the perfect Sunday supper you can serve to everyone. The key elements of this recipe are chicken, cheese, and sauce, and once you load the good stuff into the crockpot, you can cook for five hours and then serve with pasta once it’s done.
- 2 to 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- ½ cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 egg, beaten
- Sliced or shredded mozzarella cheese
- Favorite jarred marinara sauce
Head to Chef In Training for the full recipe.
8. Slow Cooker Pasta e Fagioli
If you love the Olive Garden’s pasta e faglioli, you’re going to swoon over this copycat recipe from The Country Cook. While some versions of this famous dish are vegetarian, this one has a pound of ground beef, as well as two kinds of beans and pasta. The result is a filling soup that, when paired with a salad, is enough for a complete meal. If you prefer a soup with more liquid, add another can of beef stock at the end.
Serves: 4 to 6
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 2 carrots, finely diced
- 2 stalks celery, finely diced
- 1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can cannellini beans (or white kidney beans), drained and rinsed
- 1 (26-ounce) container beef stock (or 3 cups)
- 1 jar (25-ounce) spaghetti sauce
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¾ cup uncooked ditalini pasta
- Salt, to taste (about ½ tablespoon kosher salt)
Head to The Country Cook for the full recipe.
9. Tuscan Ribolitta
Ribolitta is a Tuscan-style soup made with hearty, healthy vegetables, such as kale and carrots, plus leftover bread. It’s a great way to use up a stale loaf and is easy to make in a slow cooker, as this 10-minute recipe from Williams-Sonoma proves. You can use dried cannellini beans, though you’ll need to soak them for eight hours before cooking. To save time, substitute 6 cups of canned cannellini beans.
- 1 pound dried cannellini beans, picked over
- ¼ cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 2 yellow onions, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 8 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 bunch kale or savoy cabbage, about 1 pound, coarsely chopped
- 4 carrots, coarsely chopped
- 2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
- 2 teaspoon salt, plus more, to taste
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste
- 3 cups cubed day-old country bread
Head to Williams-Sonoma for the full recipe.
10. Pappardelle with Slow-Cooked Meat
When you’re craving meaty, filling comfort food, reach for this recipe for slow-cooked beef with pappardelle pasta from British chef Jamie Oliver, via Leite’s Culinaria. It’s OK to choose a cheap cut of meat for this dish (chuck or rump roast will work fine) because the long cooking time will turn it fork-tender. You can also substitute other meats, such as venison, rabbit, or boar.
- 1 (28-ounce) piece boneless braising meat (such as beef, venison, boar, squab or rabbit)
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 handful rosemary, stems discarded and leaves finely chopped
- 1 handful thyme, stems discarded and leaves finely chopped
- 1 small red onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 celery stick, finely chopped
- 2 wineglasses Chianti
- 2 (14-ounce) cans plum tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons pearl barley
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 14 ounces fresh or dried pappardelle
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 handfuls grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
Head to Leite’s Culinaria for the full recipe.
11. Slow Cooker Porchetta with Green Beans
Porchetta is a tender, slow-cooked and seasoned boneless pork roast. Traditional recipes can take a day or more to prepare, but the result — melt-in-your-mouth meat with a crispy skin — is delicious. In this simplified version from Delish, pork shoulder is cooked in a crockpot, reducing the hands-on time, and then it’s finished in a skillet to give it a crackling exterior.
- 2½-pound boneless pork shoulder, skin on
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- ½ teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
- 1 onion, quartered
- 1 pound green beans, trimmed
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- Maldon sea salt, for finishing
Head to Delish for the full recipe.
12. Slow Cooker Sausage and Vegetable Risotto
Making an authentic Italian risotto can be a time- and labor-intensive process. The cooking technique isn’t complicated, but the dish does require constant attention (and stirring) to properly execute. But the slow cooker offers a short cut for harried cooks.
This crockpot risotto recipe from Food & Wine includes sausage and vegetables, so it can serve as a main course, and it’s incredibly simple to prepare. Make sure you use Arborio or another short- or medium-grained rice, such as Carnaroli or Vialone Nano in this dish. All have a high starch content that produces a perfect, creamy risotto, The Kitchn explained
- 4½ cups low-sodium chicken broth
- ¾ pound sweet Italian sausages, casings removed
- 3 tablespoons water
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 small onion, cut into ¼-inch dice
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 2 cups (14 ounces) Arborio rice
- 1 medium zucchini, cut into ½-inch dice
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 5 cups (5 ounces) baby spinach
- ¾ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
- Freshly ground pepper
Head to Food & Wine for the full recipe.
Additional reporting by Megan Elliott.